In any given conflict scenario, one of our prime knee-jerk reaction is to find out who is at fault — in other words, to find a scapegoat.
If we have high regard for our egoic self, we find the scapegoat in another. And if we have low regard for our egoic self, we find a scapegoat in ourselves. But conflict and scapegoating often go hand-in-hand as the de-facto, and accepted, means of conflict resolution. Our entire legal process is based on this premise. Find out whose to blame for causing the conflict and target that person by punishing them.
In traffic violations, the first reaction of each party involved is to accuse the other of being blindsided. In court cases, invariably we have two sides arguing the fault on the other’s perspective without truly listening to each other. In workplace conflict, invariably each person tries to elevate their image and find blame an outside agent.
This is widely accepted in fact as the correct way to deal with conflict. Identify who is at fault and direct our blame on them.
However, if we look deeply, we’ll find that manner with which we’ve scapegoated someone, or ourselves, is actually not so precise. We find there are multiple legitimate perspectives to any given situation. And, if we commit to look even deeper, with a still mind, we’ll find that it is actually impossible to pin the cause of conflict to any one person.
True conflict resolution actually doesn’t work by harping on whose at fault.
The real cause of conflict, I do believe, is due to unresolved tensions in the gestalt itself, which includes 1st person, 2nd person, and 3rd person aspects. In other words, while we are all responsible for our role, the source of conflict doesn’t rest in one person. When we try to pin the source of conflict to one party, we end up shortchanging the understanding of conflict, and it will arise, again and again, in the different situations.
The more mature approach of dealing with conflict?
Establish that our goal in conflict resolution is to evolve, not find fault. In such a climate, people can work together to bring to the surface the roots of the conflict. When we’re able to work together to move through the conflict, as well as ways to prevent it in the future, rather than find blame, we can learn from each of the different life challenges we are in, and evolve collectively so they do not arise again.